Gamecocks touch down in Tampa, open bowl practice

South Carolina held its first practice since breaking for Christmas in Tampa on Thursday as the Gamecocks (10-2) are preparing for the 2013 Outback Bowl against Michigan (8-4).

The game is set for Tuesday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

“It was a so-so practice this morning,” said USC coach Steve Spurrier following the workout. “The guys acted like they hadn’t practiced in about five days. Hopefully we can pick the pace up a little bit tomorrow and the next day as we get ready for the game.”

The hot topic around the game is the matchup between Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, both who were first-team All-Americans.

“Jadeveon has played well,” said Spurrier. “He’s had a chance to play most all of the games, the whole game. Last year he rotated in and out. That gives him a chance to make a lot more plays. He’s a free-spirited young man, but he pretty much does what we ask him to do all the time, being a good teammate and all of that. He’s definitely as good of pass rusher as I’ve ever coached. He’s definitely an NFL No. 1 prospect as they say.”

Spurrier summarized the 2013 Outback Bowl matchup this way: “They’ve got good players. We’ve got good players. Whoever plays the best will probably win it. You try to take care of the ball and not do things stupid, the way we did up at Florida this year.”

After practice, several Gamecock players took part in a visit to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Those who volunteered to spend some time with the kids were Victor Hampton, Walker Inabinet, Kadetrix Marcus, Kelcy Quarles, Ace Sanders, Brock Stadnik, Clayton Stadnik, J.T. Surratt and Dylan Thompson.

The squad will enjoy the DeBartolo Team Luncheon on Friday at the Tampa Convention Center before returning to Jefferson High for an afternoon practice session.

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